"The Arkansas Traveler" was the state song of Arkansas from 1949 to 1963; it has been the state historical song since 1987. The music was composed in the 19th century by Colonel Sanford C. 'Sandy' Faulkner (1806–1874); the current official lyrics were written by a committee in 1947 in preparation for its naming as the state song.
Arkansas is a state in the southern region of the United States, home to over 3 million people as of 2017. Its name is of Siouan derivation from the language of the Osage denoting their related kin, the Quapaw Indians. The state's diverse geography ranges from the mountainous regions of the Ozark and the Ouachita Mountains, which make up the U.S. Interior Highlands, to the densely forested land in the south known as the Arkansas Timberlands, to the eastern lowlands along the Mississippi River and the Arkansas Delta.
"Colonel" Sanford C. 'Sandy' Faulkner (1806–1874) was an American born March 3 in Scott County, Kentucky to his father Nicholas and mother Sally Fletcher Faulkner. He was a politician, teller of tall tales, fiddle player, and responsible in large part for the story forming the basis of the popular fiddle tune "The Arkansas Traveler", which was the State song of Arkansas from 1949 to 1963 and has been the state historical song since 1987.
Arkansas' other official state songs are "Arkansas" (state anthem) as well as "Arkansas (You Run Deep In Me)" & "Oh, Arkansas" (both state songs).
"Arkansas", written by Eva Ware Barnett in 1916, is one of the official state songs of Arkansas. It was first adopted as the state song in the early 20th century but was removed in 1949 due to a copyright dispute. After the state settled the dispute by buying all claims to its copyright, it was restored as state song in 1963.
"Oh, Arkansas" by Terry Rose and Gary Klaff is one of the official state songs of Arkansas. It was written in 1986 for the state's 150th-anniversary celebration and was named an official "state song" by the Arkansas General Assembly in 1987.
Tune for Arkansas Traveler
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The song is traditionally known to have had several versions of lyrics, which are much older than the copyrighted song. The official lyrics as the state historical song of Arkansas are copyrighted and can be found on the website of the Arkansas Secretary of State.
Composed by the Arkansas State Song Selection Committee in 1947.
Far and far away down in Arkansas,
There lived a squatter with a stubborn jaw.
His nose was ruby red and his whiskers gray.
And he would sit and fiddle all the night and all the day.
Came a traveler down the valley, asked if he could find a bed.
Yes, try the road, the kindly squatter said.
Then, could you point me out the way to find a tavern or an Inn?
Quite a little piece I reckon, tho I've never been!
And, when the rain came down on the cabin floor,
The squatter only fiddled all the more.
Why don't you mend your roof, said the traveler bold.
How can I mend my cabin when the rain is wet and cold?
Squatter pick a sunny morning when the air is dry and nice,
Patch up your cabin, that is my advice.
The squatter shook his hoary head, and answered with a stubborn air,
Cabin never leaks a drop when days are bright and fair!
Oh, once upon a time in Arkansas,
An old man sat in his little cabin door
And fiddled at a tune that he liked to hear,
A jolly old tune that he played by ear.
It was raining hard, but the fiddler didn't care,
He sawed away at the popular air,
Tho' his rooftree leaked like a waterfall,
That didn't seem to bother the man at all.
A traveler was riding by that day,
And stopped to hear him a-practicing away;
The cabin was a-float and his feet were wet,
But still the old man didn't seem to fret.
So the stranger said "Now the way it seems to me,
You'd better mend your roof," said he.
But the old man said as he played away,
"I couldn't mend it now, it's a rainy day."
The traveler replied, "That's all quite true,
But this, I think, is the thing to do;
Get busy on a day that is fair and bright,
Then patch the old roof till it's good and tight."
But the old man kept on a-playing at his reel,
And tapped the ground with his leathery heel.
"Get along," said he, "for you give me a pain;
My cabin never leaks when it doesn't rain."
from The Arkansaw Bear: A Tale of Fanciful Adventure. The second version is the original version. The first version is the version taught to Northern school Children.
Oh, 'twas down in the woods of the Arkansaw,
And the night was cloudy and the wind was raw,
And he didn't have a bed, and he didn't have a bite,
And if he hadn't fiddled, he'd a travelled all night.
But he came to a cabin, and an old gray man,
And says he, "Where am I going? Now tell me if you can."
"Oh, we'll have a little music first and then some supper, too,
But before we have the supper we will play the music through.
You'll forget about your supper, you'll forget about your home,
You'll forget you ever started out in Arkansaw to roam."
Now the old man sat a-fiddling by the little cabin door,
And the tune was pretty lively, and he played it o'er and o'er,
And the stranger sat a-list'ning and a-wond'ring what to do,
As he fiddled and he fiddled, but he never played it through.
Then the stranger asked the fiddler, "Won't you play the rest for me?"
"Don't know it," says the fiddler. "Play it for yourself!" says he.
Then the stranger took the fiddle, with a riddy-diddle-diddle,
And the strings began to tingle at the jingle of the bow,
While the old man sat and listened, and his eyes with pleasure glistened,
As he shouted, "Hallelujah! And hurray for Joe!"
Oh, there was a little boy and his name was Bo,
Went out into the woods when the moon was low,
And he met an old bear who was hungry for a snack,
And his folks are still a-waiting for Bosephus to come back.
For the boy became the teacher of this kind and gentle creature
Who can play upon the fiddle in a very skillful way.
And they'll never, ever sever, and they'll travel on forever,
Bosephus and the fiddle and the old black bear.
I'm bringin' home a baby bumblebee
Won't my mommy be so proud of me
I'm bringin' home a baby bumblebee—Ow! It stung me!
I'm squishin' up my baby bumblebee
Won't my mommy be so proud of me
I'm squishin' up my baby bumblebee-Yuck! It's dirty!
I'm lickin' up my baby bumble bee
Won't my mommy be so proud of me
I'm lickin' up my baby bumble bee-Ick! I feel sick!
I'm throwin' up my baby bumble bee
Won't my mommy be so proud of me
I'm throwin' up my baby bumble bee-Oh! What a mess!
I'm wipin' up my baby bumble bee
Won't my mommy be so proud of me
I'm wipin' up my baby bumble bee-Oops! Mommy's new towel!
I'm wringin' out my baby bumble bee
Won't my mommy be so proud of me
I'm wringin' out my baby bumble bee-Bye-bye baby bumblebee!
I'm bringin' home a baby bumblebee Won't my mommy be so proud of me I'm bringin' home a baby bumblebee—Ow! He stung me!
I'm bringin' home my baby dinosaur Won't my mommy kick him out the door? I'm bringin' home my baby dinosaur-Ouch! He kicked me!
I'm bringin' home my baby hippopotamus Won't my mommy fuss, and fuss, and fuss?
I'm bringin' home my baby hippopotamus-Ouch! He swallowed me!
"The Arkansas Traveler" was frequently featured in animated cartoons in the 1930s and 1940s, most prolifically by Carl Stalling in music he composed for the Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes series. It usually was played, sloppily, when a yokel, hillbilly, or "country bumpkin" character would appear on screen. A slow version of the "Bringing home a baby bumble-bee" version is sung by Beaky Buzzard in the short The Bashful Buzzard .
An animated cartoon is a film for the cinema, television or computer screen, which is made using sequential drawings, as opposed to animation in general, which include films made using clay, puppets, 3D modeling and other means. Animated cartoons are still created for entertainment, commercial, educational and personal purposes.
Merrie Melodies is an American animated cartoon series of comedy short films produced by Warner Bros. from 1931 to 1969, during the golden age of American animation. As with its sister series, Looney Tunes, it featured cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and Elmer Fudd.
Looney Tunes is an American animated series of comedy short films produced by Warner Bros. from 1930 to 1969 during the golden age of American animation alongside its sister series Merrie Melodies. It was known for introducing Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Tweety, Sylvester, Granny, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Marvin the Martian, Pepé Le Pew, Speedy Gonzales, Tasmanian Devil, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote and many other cartoon characters.
The popularity and joyfulness of "The Arkansas Traveler" was attested to in the 1932 Academy Award-winning Laurel and Hardy short, The Music Box . In this film, the boys labored to haul a player piano up a long flight of stairs and into a house through a bedroom window. Near the conclusion of their adventure, as they are starting to clean up their mess surrounding the newly installed piano, Stan and Ollie play a roll of "Patriotic Melodies". They dance with much grace and amusement to "The Arkansas Traveler", followed briefly by "Dixie". Marvin Hatley, who composed Laurel and Hardy's "Cuckoo" theme song, was the pianist for this sequence; the player piano was not real.
Laurel and Hardy were a comedy duo act during the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema. The team was composed of Englishman Stan Laurel (1890–1965) and American Oliver Hardy (1892–1957). They became well known during the late 1920s to the mid-1940s for their slapstick comedy, with Laurel playing the clumsy and childlike friend of the pompous bully Hardy. The duo's signature tune is known variously as "The Cuckoo Song", "Ku-Ku", or "The Dance of the Cuckoos". It was played over the opening credits of their films and has become as emblematic of the duo as their bowler hats.
The Music Box is a Laurel and Hardy short film comedy released in 1932. It was directed by James Parrott, produced by Hal Roach and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film, which depicts the pair attempting to move a piano up a large flight of steps, won the first Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film (Comedy) in 1932. In 1997, this film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
"Dixie", also known as "Dixie's Land", "I Wish I Was in Dixie", and other titles, is a popular song in the Southern United States. It is one of the most distinctively Southern musical products of the 19th century and probably the best-known song to have come out of blackface minstrelsy. It was not a folk song at its creation, but it has since entered the American folk vernacular. The song likely cemented the word "Dixie" in the American vocabulary as a nickname for the Southern United States.
"The Arkansas Traveler" was a popular comedy sketch on the vaudeville circuit. It revolved around the encounter of a (usually lost) traveling city person with a local, wise-cracking fiddle player. Various jokes at the expense of the "city slicker" were interspersed with instrumental versions of the song. In many versions, the city person is also a fiddle player, and as the sketch progresses, eventually learns the tune and plays along with the country bumpkin.
The contemporary singer Michelle Shocked includes a vaudeville-style version of "Arkansas Traveler" on her 1992 album of the same name. Jerry Garcia and David Grisman also do a version on their 1993 album Not for Kids Only .
Michelle Shocked is an American singer-songwriter.
Vaudeville is a theatrical genre of variety entertainment born in France at the end of the 18th century. A vaudeville is a comedy without psychological or moral intentions, based on a comical situation. It was originally a kind of dramatic composition or light poetry, usually a comedy, interspersed with songs or ballets. It became popular in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s, but the idea of vaudeville's theatre changed radically from its French antecedent.
Jerome John Garcia was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist, best known for his work as the lead guitarist and as a vocalist with the band Grateful Dead, which came to prominence during the counterculture era in the 1960s. Although he disavowed the role, Garcia was viewed by many as the leader or "spokesman" of the group.
Dan Hornsby Original Arkansas Traveler Part 1 (with Clayton McMichen, Columbia 15253D) 1920s version for Columbia Records and Original Arkansas Traveler Part 2 (with Clayton McMichen, Columbia 15253D)
Charles Ives uses the tune in his theater orchestra piece called "Country Band" March.
Eck Robertson and Henry C. Gilliland's 1922 recording of "Arkansaw Traveler" [sic] (Victor 18956) was selected for the 2002 National Recording Registry.
The song is the centerpiece of The Legend of the Arkansas Traveler, a short "Concert Paraphrase on an Old American Fiddle Tune" for orchestra composed by Harl McDonald in 1939.
Children's entertainer Raffi used the melody of "The Arkansas Traveler" for the song "Peanut Butter Sandwich," which appears on his album Singable Songs for the Very Young .
The "Baby Bumblebee" version was sung on two episodes of Barney & Friends, and one video from its predecessor, Barney and the Backyard Gang.
Pete Seeger recorded the vaudeville version of "Arkansas Traveler" for his 1954 album "Frontier Ballads"
The Jukebox Band perform their version of this song in a Shining Time Station episode, Win, Lose or Draw.
Delores LaVern Baker was an American rhythm-and-blues singer who had several hit records on the pop chart in the 1950s and early 1960s. Her most successful records were "Tweedle Dee" (1955), "Jim Dandy" (1956), and "I Cried a Tear" (1958).
A bumblebee is any of over 250 species in the genus Bombus, part of Apidae, one of the bee families. This genus is the only extant group in the tribe Bombini, though a few extinct related genera are known from fossils. They are found primarily in higher altitudes or latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere, although they are also found in South America where a few lowland tropical species have been identified. European bumblebees have also been introduced to New Zealand and Tasmania. Female bumblebees can sting repeatedly, but generally ignore humans and other animals.
James Isaac Moore, better known by his stage name Slim Harpo, was an American blues musician, a leading exponent of the swamp blues style, and "one of the most commercially successful blues artists of his day". His most successful and influential recordings included "I'm a King Bee" (1957), "Rainin' In My Heart" (1961), and "Baby Scratch My Back" (1966) which reached no. 1 on the R&B chart and no.16 on the US pop chart. A master of the blues harmonica, his stage name was derived from the popular nickname for that instrument, the "harp".
Mack Gordon was a Jewish-American composer and lyricist of songs for the stage and film. He was nominated for the best original song Oscar nine times in eleven years, including five consecutive years between 1940 and 1944, and won the award once, for "You'll Never Know". That song has proved among his most enduring, and remains popular in films and television commercials to this day. "At Last" is another of his best-known songs.
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"Kind Hearted Woman Blues" is a blues song recorded on November 23, 1936, in San Antonio, Texas, by the American Delta bluesman Robert Johnson. The song was originally released on 78 rpm format as Vocalion 03416 and ARC 7-03-56. Johnson performed the song in the key of A, and recorded two takes, the first of which contains his only recorded guitar solo. Both takes were used for different pressings of both the Vocalion issue and the ARC issue. The first take (SA-2580-1) can be found on many compilation albums, including the first one, King of the Delta Blues Singers (1961). Take 2 (SA-2580-2) can be heard on the later compilation Robert Johnson, The Complete Recordings (1990).
"Bringin' On the Heartbreak" is a ballad originally recorded by British hard rock band Def Leppard. It was the second single from their 1981 album High 'n' Dry. The song was written by three of the band's members: Steve Clark, Pete Willis, and Joe Elliott. In 2002, it was covered by American R&B/pop singer Mariah Carey for her album Charmbracelet. Many reviews of the R&B cover were positive, as was the reaction from Def Leppard's Joe Elliott.
"Missouri Waltz" is the official state song of Missouri and is associated with the University of Missouri.
A bumblebee is a flying insect of the genus Bombus.
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Alexander Campbell "Eck" Robertson was an American fiddle player, mostly known for commercially recording the first country music songs in 1922 with Henry Gilliland.
By the Light of the Silvery Moon is a Doris Day album featuring songs from the movie of the same name. It was issued by Columbia Records as a 10" long-playing record, catalog number CL-6248 and as a 45rpm EP set, B-334.
The Bashful Buzzard is a 7-minute animated cartoon completed in 1944 and released on September 15, 1945. It is directed by Robert Clampett and features the character Beaky Buzzard. This is the last cartoon in which Kent Rogers performed voices, as he died in a training flight accident on July 9, 1944. It is also the last Warner Bros. cartoon that for which Sara Berner performed voice work.
Wimzie's House is a half-hour Canadian preschool television program produced in Montreal which ran as La Maison de Ouimzie on Télévision de Radio-Canada in the morning and Radio-Québec in late afternoons starting September 4, 1995, and in English on CBC Television starting October 21, 1996 and in the United States on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) from October 1, 1997 to August 31, 2001. Reruns of the show aired in the United States on the Cookie Jar Toons block on This TV and in syndication as part of the Cookie Jar Kids Network block. The series was produced by Cinar, with the PBS telecasts presented by Maryland Public Television from 1997 to 2002. The show's puppetry is in the style of Sesame Street, which led to some legal troubles with The Jim Henson Company, in 1999. There were two FMV PC games based on the series.
The fiddle tune "Orange Blossom Special", about the passenger train of the same name, was written by Ervin T. Rouse (1917–1981) in 1938. The original recording was created by Ervin and Gordon Rouse in 1939. It is often called simply The Special. It has been referred to as the fiddle player's national anthem.
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"Soldier's Joy" is a fiddle tune, classified as a reel or country dance. It is popular in the American fiddle canon, in which it is touted as "an American classic" but traces its origin to Scottish fiddling traditions. It has been played in Scotland for over 200 years, and Robert Burns used it for the first song of his cantata 'The Jolly Beggars'. According to documentation at the United States Library of Congress, it is "one of the oldest and most widely distributed tunes" and is rated in the top ten most-played old time fiddle tunes. According to the Illinois Humanities Center, the tune dates as early as the 1760s. In spite of its upbeat tempo and catchy melody, the term "soldier's joy" has a much darker meaning than is portrayed by the tune. This term eventually came to refer to the combination of whiskey, beer, and morphine used by Civil War soldiers.
The Arkansas Traveler is an honorary title bestowed on notable individuals who, through their actions serve as goodwill ambassadors for the US state of Arkansas. A certificate is signed by the governor, secretary of state and the recipient's sponsor, and given to the honoree during a ceremony attended by the signers.